Unrealistic portrayals #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone, and a happy Easter weekend to everyone. It’s time to get our chocolate on, lol! I’m heading out of town, and with fingers crossed that the weather holds out. While not unusual in Canada, no one wants snow to ruin their Easter fun.

For today’s post I want to discuss the “too perfect” characters some authors expect us to buy into. Now, to be clear, I’m talking about human characters mainly but also paranormal. Aliens are outside my realm of writing, so they are exempt from today’s roasting. Everything else is fair game, so here we go.

We humans as a species are imperfect – fact. We all have flaws whether we admit to them or not – fact. We all have at least one thing, often more than one thing, that we absolutely hate about ourselves – fact. Absolutely no human being on earth is perfect – fact. I’m sorry if this has caused anyone some upset, but it happens to be the truth. Anyone that says otherwise is a bold faced liar.

So why the fuck do authors continue to make characters flawless in every way?

Let’s be clear, I don’t mean in appearance because this is not the point of today’s post. Appearance is only the books cover. Do we occasionally get snagged first by the hottie on the cover? Sure, and there’s nothing wrong with that or admitting to it. But if that’s ALL we’re looking at then it’s a pretty shallow interpretation. We have to get to know the heart of an individual to truly understand them. Looks may be our instinctive first impression, but it should never, ever be the last. We as human beings are run by chemical and electrical impulses, but it’s the story behind the cover that gives us the context we need. And now that I’ve mixed metaphors, and realities around, let me get back on track a bit here.

Every character needs at least one flaw. Not merely hair that’s unruly or a crooked tooth giving a smile some character, although it does help, but some quirk or trait or situation that makes them more human. Yes, not every character is human, fully or otherwise. But for the readers very human brain to better relate they have to see in each character something that makes them flawed or different or unique. Maybe your character was injured, and everyday is a struggle. Maybe s/he never learned to read until s/he was an adult and still struggles from time to time. You get the idea.

Too perfect characters are the ones with every hair in place, or that just styled look that we all (at least once) wish we had going for us at some point. They have the job, the car, own their house/condo before they’re fifty, dream job, amazing high powered friends, etc. They are the unicorn among the cattle. Look too long or hard and you’ll pretty much go blind. They can do no wrong. And, let’s be honest here, they are as boring as fuck! No one, I repeat, NO ONE is perfect.

Yes, romance is fiction. Yes, there is a fantasy element to romance works. Yes, we all have had dreams about “that” guy being ours. But the sad, harsh reality is that “that” guy is either the biggest dick on the planet, would have you bored to tears before your first drinks arrived, or even worse still, he bats for the other team. Talk about depressing, right?

People screw up, sometimes in little ways and sometimes to epic extremes. This is a fact. This is a reality. And when a character (male or female) screws up and has to dig themselves from the hole they just dug. They’re driving a beater that’s being held together by duct tape and a prayer. They’ve had some unexpected expense crop up that has them sweating making rent, the car payment, or the bill payments. They got a cold they just can’t seem to shake. They have hay fever, or allergies, or something else that seems super mundane but is necessary. We’ve been there, lived through it, or known someone that’s been there, we can all relate to them.

So, authors one and all, remember the seemingly little things. The details that turn your perfect smiling, classical beauty, sex goddess into someone a little less other worldly, and let’s your readers feel closer to them. It doesn’t have to be much, but even a little something makes a huge difference. Keep it real as it were.

Enough to fill an ocean #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

It’s that time again folks, TGIF! Which also means it’s time for another post from yours truly. So let’s get down to it.

Every single person on the planet has doubts at one time, or another. For an author they can be crippling. And while there is no tried and true method to get around them, or banish them entirely, there is one key sentence that you should hold close. For when the wolves are baying outside your window, and doubt comes knocking on your door.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS.

For an author our voice is in every story we write, world we create, and characters we bring to life. Every word in every sentence tells part of the tale that is our voice. Our voices hold power, it can rise above the masses, or be soft enough that everyone must strain to catch it. We use it to draw outsiders deep within the walls we’ve built, paint the picture we wish them to see, and move them through the full range of emotions. From shock, to anger, to sadness, to joy and everything in between.

We are artists quietly toiling at our chosen craft, quite often in solitude. We’re distracted, absentminded, goofy, spacey, and any other number of terms. Not a single one of us is the same, except in a singular matter, doubt.

What if this is too much, or not enough? What if they don’t take, or worse what if they do? No one will read this, or will they? Maybe I shouldn’t put that part in, but what if I do? Can I say/do/have that in there? What if no one buys it? What if no one likes it? What if they hate it?

As I mentioned in last weeks post, you can’t please everyone. So push those questions drilling holes in your brain and squashing your creativity aside, and write. They are doubts, some will be stronger than others, but that’s okay too. You are allowed to doubt yourself from time to time, but do not let yourself get bogged down with them. Grab hold of something real, something tangible and yank yourself up from the mire that’s trying to swallow you whole and drown you. Throw your shoulders back, tilt your chin up high and let out a warriors cry.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS.

Make yourself a compliment jar. I know, it sounds silly, but trust me on this. Put in it every compliment you’ve ever gotten, each one written on it’s own piece of paper. Put in every great thing you’ve done, whatever you’ve accomplished (big or small), and everything that instantly brings a smile to your face. Pack all those little pieces of paper into that jar and leave it in your work space. When your doubts have you up against the ropes pull out one of those little things and give it a read. Embrace it, remember it, remind yourself that you are NOT your doubts.

And when in doubt (no pun intended) it doesn’t hurt to throw your head back and scream at the top of your lungs for no reason at all. It’s definitely cheaper than therapy, and a hell of a lot of fun. Especially in a crowd.

One size doesn’t fit all #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Welcome one and all. As we continue to shake things up on the blog I now get to post on a brand new day. This is going to take some getting used to I have to admit. I usually get a few hours to contemplate my post(s), all while sipping one of my many cups of coffee on a Saturday. So bear with me if my spelling mistakes suddenly take a huge upsurge in frequency, lol!

Today I want to discuss authors who are trying to be all things, to all people in their writing. Like my title says, one size doesn’t fit all. There is literally no way in this time or any other where you, the author, can satisfy every single person who will read your story. It is mathematically impossible.

There will always be someone, somewhere (usually in multiples) who has an issue with something about what you’ve written. Whether it’s the time, the location, the clothing, the language, the sex (it’s usually something about sex), how long the story is, how short it is, how much you/your publisher charged for it (that’s the other very popular complaint), the cover (pretty rare), or your creative interpretation or licence in regards to some detail (especially with real world places/locations). No matter how hard you try to write something that “shouldn’t” offend anyone – let me be straight with you here and now – there WILL ALWAYS be someone you offend.

Roughly 90% of the time it’s someone who just likes to hear themselves toot their own offended horn. 5% of the time it’s someone who didn’t a) read the description of your book (how dare you write an erotic romance and put it up where someone might buy it!), or b) disliked something you put in, or how you wrote it up. The other 5% is someone who’s offended by something, goes on a massive tangent, and it has NOTHING to do with your book. At all. As in, they didn’t even read your work but something else entirely, but put their rant and low one star rating on your product. You can usually tell from their overuse of capitalization, long winded sentences without any punctuation, and some reference to some point that never got near your work even in your earliest days of outlining. For example, you wrote a story which is in 19th century France, but they are going on about the fucking robots on Centurion Prime, and such things. These folks we like to recommend reporting and ignoring.

While most authors do try to watch their “turn of phrase” in a book they write, along with any local slang that might confuse a reader, and we all have some that have been part of our language since the first day we began to speak, you can’t go about writing your story while trying to dance across eggshells. As an author you have a solemn duty to yourself, and your characters to write from the heart. Yes, ensuring you are staying accurate with any real world location/event is usually a good idea, but we’re authors. We are licenced to occasionally flex our creative muscles for our stories. If you like a certain building in a certain city you’re writing in, but don’t particularly care for the fact it’s a fashion store go ahead and make it your own. You’re one hundred percent covered. It’s in your legal portion right up front in the book before you hit the good stuff – at least it damn well better be! In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, this is Evernight’s official “covering of our author asses”:

“This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.”

In other words: They know a guy named Joe who they hate, and had to kill in this book because doing it in real is illegal – and they don’t look good in orange. They adore that building in that city and while we know a bunch of you readers live there, they happen to hate what’s in it so for the sake of their story they are stealing the structure and using it for their own evil plans (like a BDSM club, muahaha!). They know all about that big ass war they are referencing as vaguely as possible (or maybe not so much), and you readers who were history buffs totally clued in but for the sake of their story line they moved it a few days/months/years to make it all fit.

Stuff like that.

We write fiction, even those who are writing historical or period works. Fiction, all of it. Which means ignore those folks who are tripping over the fact that you changed up their favorite spot in some city to work into your story. If they have issue direct their uptight selves to said legal speak and continue on with your day. We’re authors, we need to stretch our creative wings to ensure we are remaining true to what our muse has given to us as a gift. Naysayers need not apply.

Now, before I let you go, one last thing. This has been said a few times on here before, but because of what I’ve just written I want to emphasis this here and now. NEVER, EVER GET INTO IT WITH A TROLL. People will leave crappy reviews, so be it. People will leave shitty reviews that are in no way related to your work, report them and move on. People will try to get up in your metaphorical face on social media, remember your zen place and point to the legal stuff before going about your day. Do not EVER get into a battle of words with a troll, or some ignorant fool. They will only drag you down to their level by raising your blood pressure – and they are better at the low blows because that’s all they have ever known.

So, write what makes you happy. Write what makes your characters clamor to be heard. Write what makes you smile, bite your lip, or squirm in your seat. Write for yourself. You cannot please everyone in this life, so don’t let them take a second away from what you are doing best. Writing.

Confused much? #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Hello one and all, welcome to another #SensualSunday post. Another week lies ahead of us, and who knows what it might bring. Maybe new ideas, or a plot twist, or even a solution to that section in your latest WIP that’s been driving you insane. One never knows but if you keep your eyes and ears open you never know what you may find.

Today’s post is all about genre choice. Seems simple enough. But I’ve run across some books that have left me feeling dazed and highly confused about their genre.

As any author knows our characters are our guiding forces. They tell us what we need to know to form the story they have to share. To an author they are living, breathing beings and while they don’t have any real form to them, the story they are contained in gives them shape.

Now, determining who these characters are, where they are from, what they do, believe in, and so forth helps an author to figure out what the genre of the book will be. I’m not talking about what genres your publisher (if you use one) might list it under, but your core genre. For instance, Paranormal or Sci-Fi. Everything outside of that, like romance, BDSM, etc. is icing on the cake. But an author needs to know, going in, what their genre is to be.

Could it change part way through? Sure, but if it does that means the previously written portions need to be altered/updated to fit. You can’t have half a book being one genre and the rest something else entirely. It’s like writing a werewolf story that suddenly because a zombie horror but there was never any mention of zombies! This is also where reader confusion kicks in. If a reader doesn’t feel like they have just read a cohesive work, they are going to say something. Usually nothing very flattering.

Time for an example. One book I read a while back was decidedly a paranormal romance. Clear as day. No question about it. Then I hit roughly the two-thirds mark and everything changed. Took on a fantasy, almost sci-fi feel to it. Threw me for one hell of a loop. Had me questioning all I’d previously read. Was it so subtle that I missed the clues the author had potentially dropped? Sadly, no. I finished the book, let it digest, and then went back to read it again a couple days later. I knew the ending, knew all this additional information, but it still was reading as a para-romance for over the first half of the book. No hint (and I was reading word for word slowly) of the shift in dynamics/situation to come. It was almost as if the author had run out of material and smooshed in some extra stuff they’d had on the side to get their word count up. After the second reading I was even more confused by the story, and while the characters had remained (for the most part) the same through it all, that sudden jolt to a whole new tale part way through rattled me.

Now, as an author myself I can’t post reviews on sites under my author name. Not that I apparently needed to. Between the time I’d bought the book, and then got around to reading it, there had been several reviews left about it. All had more or less the same core theme to them – what the hell had they just read? And ratings that reflected this overall thought. All of which dragged the book down through the ranks because folks were shying away from it.

Was it a good read? Yup, right up to that point where everything began to change, and not for the better. If the author had written these two genres as separate books they’d likely have had raving reviews from the readers. But smashing them into one just made one hell of a mess. Running out of material for a story is absolutely no excuse to do this. Stories are only as long as they need to be. Not determined by us authors, but by our characters.

So let’s be clear here. Pick your genre based on what your characters are feeding you. If, and it can happen, the characters lead you in a new direction like my example above then go back to the beginning and fix it. Keep your story one cohesive piece that is melded in perfection. Any editor worth their salt would catch you making this mistake, but for those who don’t have one at their disposal for whatever reason, take care. At the very least use a beta reader to ensure what you have to publish is a tight work that reflects on you in the best light.

XO Moira Callahan

Mood & ‘tude #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Good morning one and all, it’s that time again. To turn your clocks ahead (oops! needed to edit this) one hour if you are among the unlucky stuck with Daylight Savings. An outdated, and in my opinion, useless practice that maybe made sense at one point, but seems to be nothing more than a major pain in the derriere now. If they wanted to make it less painful, they should actually put it in the middle of a Monday – at least in Spring – who wouldn’t mind losing an hour off their Monday?

All right, enough moping, onto the post.

MOOD:  1 A temporary state of mind or feeling; 1.1 The atmosphere or pervading tone of something ~ Oxford online dictionary

ATTITUDE:  1 A settled way of thinking or feeling about something; 1.1 A position of the body indicating a particular mental state; 2 Truculent or uncooperative behavior ~ Oxford online dictionary

We authors are always trying to paint a certain mood with our stories. Whether it’s making the reader laugh, cry, or sit on the edge of their seats with tension, our goal is to create something the reader can’t help but get swept up into. Easy to do? Hell to the no it’s not! But every now and again the planets and stars align.

Then there is attitude, easy enough to portray with your characters actions and words, but there is a fine line of going too far or not far enough. No author wants a wishy-washy character who’s boring or dull, but you also don’t want a character that everyone is disgusted by or straight up hates. Unless they are the bad guy/gal in the story or the character to be reformed, then go for it. Make them reviled for every metaphorical breath they take. Have your readers hoping, and rooting for their demise.

Now there is the combination. Getting the right mood that works with the attitude’s you’re bringing to the scene, and vice versa. If one part is off it creates a disjointed scene that interrupts the entire flow to the story you’re telling. Learning to blend them in the right proportions does take time, and also takes listening to your beta readers and editors. They will help you to navigate these treacherous waters, and keep everything on the straight and narrow.

What may help you best is visualization of the scene. Put yourself into the mindset of the character, in that scene, and go from there. Not easy, but with time you’ll train your brain to do it and it’ll come faster, and easier with each story you write. This includes every character from your mains, to your antagonist, to the next door neighbor, to the individual at their “favorite” coffee house taking orders. The better you can picture them the better you can write them and create the realism that will help your readers view them as “real”.

So visualize the mood of your scene, get your character’s attitude geared up, and write. While there will be tweaks to be made – there always are – go with whatever you/they are feeling in that moment. You never know what might come about, or what you may create. Get your feels on folks.

XO Moira Callahan

You can’t say/write that! #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-SundayIt’s that time once more, another #SensualSunday post with Moira. This week we’re going to discuss a serious topic, and one that is faced more often than folks realize or believe to be true. It’s also a tough one, especially in this day and age where everyone is offended by something or someone. Please note that the below is in no way pointed at any one individual, and the examples used are merely my opinion on the subject.

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Now, I’m not only talking about the book burners, or locking out the media during briefings, but also what we say, how we say it, and as authors our written words.

We authors have faced a lot of censorship over the centuries. There were the book burning’s of works deemed too controversial, or those that turned youths to the ways of Satan, and let’s not even get started on witchcraft, education, or any other reason someone has deemed a book to be unsuitable for our youths to read and thereby it was banned, and yes, in some instances, lit on fire! While I will agree that erotica or pornographic material shouldn’t be in the hands of anyone under the age of majority, and some other topics should have some parental guidance provided, allowing kids to read works that make them think should never be censored. The adage that “if you don’t use it, you lose it” comes to mind. Like any muscle in the body the brain too needs to be exercised, and this comes from critical and contemplative thought. Which the world sorely needs more of.

fotolia_115519302_xsFor example let’s look at the most well known book IN THE WORLD. The Bible. Yup, you read that right. Now, I should mention I am not now nor have I ever been a religious person, it’s not who I am, and this is not about to go down the rabbit hole into religion – this is merely an example everyone on the planet (except in the countries this is banned) can relate to. We’ve all seen The Bible, whether in book stores, in churches for whatever variety of reasons we might be there (sermons, weddings, funerals, etc), in peoples homes, and even in motel/hotel’s in certain areas of the world. Did you know:

  • *North Korea punishes ownership of religious materials; imprisonment or death
  • *China permits churches or seminaries that are part of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement/China Christian Council to have them, and some bookshops sell them, but they cannot be mail ordered by private citizens, or any unregistered churches
  • *Maldives says citizens must be Muslim, yet permit foreigners to practice their own religion, but only in private; Bibles can be imported only for personal use
  • *Turkmenistan permits the import, with permission by registered churches, but production is not permitted
  • ^North Korea greatly restricted, or straight out banned it
  • ^Russia banned the import of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures
  • ^Spain had a prohibition against The Bible, written in Spanish, from the 16th to the 19th century

* Quoted from Quora
^ Quoted from Wikipedia.org

All right, enough of a detour, let’s get back on topic here.

Censorship happens every single day when it comes to books. Hell even the almighty Zon does it to our books each and everyday. Because it is their corporate guideline (ie: some big shot who caved to an individual(s) who didn’t want it/them showing up in their recommendations) that certain books with certain graphics/words/subjects/actions should be deemed “adult” and therefore kept away from the mainstream folks. Okay, I get it. You don’t want your 10 year old niece, who happens to be using your account to shop for her next coloring book off the Zon, being able to buy E.L. James’ book(s) off the Zon so you write in going ballistic and all offended that it should dare to show up in “her” recommended reads, and being the curious sort she is she clicked on it. Thank goodness you happened to wander by the computer before she one-clicked that sucker.

Side note: What have YOU been reading/buying that that book is showing up in “her” recommended feeds? Huh? Huh? Yeah, thought so.

I get where the Zon is coming from on this. They don’t want the angry folks taking offence to something (for no reason at all if they were ACTUALLY adults) bringing their pitchforks and torches to their front door (which happens to be at: 410 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA, 98109-5210 if you’re interested). So they go to the absolute extreme. Got a guy with his chest naked and showing his hip bones with a hint of something more on the cover? May end up being thrown into the adult category. Did you have your characters going full on bondage scene? fotolia_137449177_xscroppedMay end up being thrown into the adult category. Did you have a character go on a terrible rampage through downtown San Francisco terrorizing citizens, destroying property, and killing large bug like characters? May end up…being that movie I watched last weekend – oops!

And that there is the problem. People go ballistic, lose their shit, and everyone else around them or on the receiving end reacts by going to the extreme. Enough already! Sit down, shut up for five fucking minutes, take some deep breaths, and get your big girl panty wedgie under control – let’s discuss this like the adults we’re all supposed to be. Which is what the Zon should have done. They should have gathered information, had the maniac(s) take a psych eval, done some research on their own, figured out if maybe there was an algorithm that could easily solve the issue, talked with their tech guru’s, and even opened a discussion with those to be affected – the authors. But instead they, in their all knowing position at the top of the pile in the e-Book (and other retail items) world, made a unilateral decision that affected many authors who write of the more adult nature but nowhere near porn level. Just because you’re bigger than the other guy does not make you right.

Before this goes into a full blown rant, let me close this up with some last points and thoughts. We the people (not including countries under dictatorships, or with crazed nuclear holding presidents) do have the right to free speech, our own opinions, and the right to express them in a productive, cognizant manner to make our point/opinion known. We do NOT have the right to be douchenuggets stomping on other people and their freedom to speak, or write what they want as long as they happen to be well-informed, and factual. If they are writing/talking shit then they get what they deserve in return. So, as a whole, if we the people of the world could all pull up our big girl panties, stop being offended over every breath someone takes, and just scroll on past/skip over something that is not to our taste (unless it’s illegal, dangerous, or harmful) I think we would all be much happier in the long run.

And you, yeah you the author type person, be strong. There will be criticism, and there will be folks who pull out their pitchfork over what you’ve written while trying to censor your voice. But know this, as long as you are happy with the end result, and it speaks to who you are while possibly holding a message for someone that may need it right then – FUCK ‘EM ALL.

XO Moira Callahan

Black and white image of loving couple in a bad.

Characters #SatisfactionSaturday @KaceyHammell

saturday

Good morning all! Hope you’ve had a great week. Chilly here today. The cold temps have returned to Ontario, and I’m extremely bummed about it. We got a touch of spring and Mother Nature has taken it away again.

As always, every blog post is from my pov and my take on how things work/don’t work in my writing/my career. This week, I want to talk about characters. I’ve always been a believer, since I read my first Nora Roberts way back, that the characters are what drive stories. The characters are the heart and soul of the story and good writing, not the plots. It’s Roarke & Eve from JD Robb’s “In Death” series that keep me coming back. Harry, Hagrid, Hermoine & Ron kept me coming back to the Harry Potter saga. And even movies … It is Dominic Toretto & Brian Connor that have kept me returning to the Fast & Furious franchise. As well as John McClane that has me watching Die Hard twice a year.

Whenever I start to get ready to write a story, it isn’t the outline I spend more time on, it’s the character spreadsheet. I need to know what drives the H/H. Their occupation, their childhood problems that have followed into adulthood, where they met their BFFs, what were some hobbies. Plus what their parents were like, what kind of music and movies they like and what they collect as a hobby. Some of the answers to these questions may never make it into every story, but it gives me a much better sense of who I am writing. I want to know everything about them that I possibly can, as well as what brings those secondary characters into their stories. For me, the more I know, the more I have to build on.

In knowing the above, it gives me a better understanding as to what the angst/trouble/struggle is for the characters. And sometimes it’s the minute details that can become a barrier for me as I write, possibly hitting a roadblock, and the only way I can get through it is to know things about my characters – mainly to become a better writer IMO – which readers may never see. Every story has hurdles for the characters; it is never smooth sailing, so the journey, and overcoming those feats make for some great writing. I also learn what the characters determination/motivation is and where it comes from. Having the insight to what each character needs and wants, and the way that s/he will go about obtaining everything is something I need to know from the beginning. Things will shift and change a bit as I write but it gives me a starting point. It also gives me a direction to go with the characters, their arc, and how it evolves from page to page. The heroine may start off as a quiet, button-up librarian or teacher at the beginning of the story, but the hope is that she evolve into a spitfire bombshell comfortable in her own skin by the end.

No information is too much for me. Everything that matters to my characters matters to me. They make the story, I just write their journey onto the screen/paper. Some authors are probably reading this thinking I’m off my rocker and saying to just sit and write, and that’s fine, but everyone’s process is different. I go where the characters lead me and their openness in the beginning makes it much easier to write the story, as well as understand their reasons and motives for whatever happens.

It makes for a better writing relationship as well.

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing.

Kacey (2)

Emotional baggage #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Welcome back folks, as I write this the weather outside is rather frightful, but it provides interesting mood to say the least. This #SensualSunday post is all about emotions. That we use in our writing, and those that effect our writing.

Let’s be honest – authors can be rather emotional. We are invested in our characters, their story, their happiness, what’s going on around them, and so much more. This is not a bad thing by a long shot, but not today’s focus. Nope, today’s focus is on what an author feels and how it can change their story.

I personally can happily admit that when I’ve had a bad day, been in a piss poor mood, and/or been ready to do bodily harm – I have sat down at my computer to either write a scene in a current WIP, or opened up a new doc to write out my mood. I have several docs in a special folder titled, I kid you not, my Kill Folder. Yup. I actually have a folder saved with all the dismemberment’s, murder’s, and various other brutal endings to folks lives tucked away on my computer. Some scenes, with tweaks to fit in better, have made it into my WIP’s while others may well rot inside that folder.

bebe llorandoFor an author our writing is an outlet for all our emotional baggage. If we sad, angry, joyful, annoyed, or feeling blue we have the perfect place to put it all – in our writing. But there are two sides to this story. While being in an emotionally charged place can help in writing a specific scene (angry – killing off a character, sad – characters saying their goodbyes, etc.) we do need to take care not to try writing a scene in our MS that doesn’t fit our current mood.

A prime example – you just received some bad news, your emotions are all over the map, you’re crying, ranting, not in a great place. Why the hell are you trying to force yourself to write a sex scene? Not to say there are not authors out there who can’t take negative emotions and channel them into something different, but most of us are not wired in that manner. And your readers will notice that the scene that should be happy, or sexually charged feels off or even awkward, like you were forcing yourself to write something you weren’t emotionally into. So don’t. If you’re not feeling the mood of where your WIP is – write something else. Go onto a different scene that better suits where you are in the moment, or like I do, start a folder to let out everything in a non-destructive (in reality) manner.

Not only will your characters, and story thank you but so will your editor and your readers. In the end you too will be much happier with how the story turned out, which is a great feeling and one we all strive to achieve. “Write what you know” isn’t merely about jobs or places, people or situations, it’s also about the emotions we feel or don’t in any given situation.

Moral of today’s post – Don’t force that which you’re not feeling.

XO Moira Callahan

Sexy couple in bed

From the chaos we must rise #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Moira here welcoming you back to another #SensualSunday posting. First off, I’m sicker than a dog this week – we had some “plague” (doubt it’s an actual plague) sweep through the day job this week taking out about 60% of us – so if this post meanders a little off track I shall state here and now, sorry! I’ll survive this, my nose may not from all the blowing, but it’s already starting to clear so my pre-first sniffle care obviously helped get me through this quicker. But you’re not here to read about the icky illness I’ve contracted, so on to the actual post.

Let me straight with you – the world is going to Hell in a hand basket, and there’s no one at the helm. I’m sorry, but that is my personal take on things. This makes me all the more desperate to bury myself in the various worlds my crazed mind has cooked up, and escape the insanity. But it still intrudes. Sometimes too close for comfort.

But that’s beyond today’s point. In our overly media saturated world with news, information, advertisements, peoples opinions, etc. streaming at us 24/7 from all around mediathe globe constantly bombarding us with truth, half-truth, and pure bullshit they scraped up from who knows where, we the authors need to remember our primary reason for having this gift to write.

We are the ones to give sanctuary and refuge to weary minds. To provide a place of respite, however brief, for our readers. We are the creative minds behind re-imagined, and imaginary worlds near and far with everything from humans to aliens inhabiting them. We have the skill set necessary to take something simple, transform it, and make it into a magical realm yet unseen by anyone before.

This may seem too great a burden for some, but really, is it? We are authors for a reason. We have a vision of a (sometimes) better world that we want to share with everyone we can. To give hope, to provide solace, and to encourage some mild escapism from the realities that are our current times. It is a great responsibility to be sure, but never think it to be a burden. It’s a gift, not a chore. And if it ever becomes either a burden, or a chore, then I’d advise you to rethink why you are writing.

We’ve all had times where it seems to be too much, don’t ever think you are alone in that. Each of us has hit a rough point, or three through the years. It’s like anything that challenges, and stretches you to be more, it’s fucking hard work. But we all feel the pure joy, and love in what we’ve created and that, that right there is why we keep moving forward. No matter what the world throws your way, no matter what insanity might next pop up in your news feeds, remember the love you have for creating your worlds, your characters, and your stories. Let it flow through you, onto the page, and out into the world. We all need it now more than ever before. So chin up, shoulders back, and know that you’ve got this.

XO Moira Callahan

bearded macho man with roses

 

It’s not easy, but stick to it #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Hello, and welcome to another #SensualSunday post. In today’s world, especially of late, distractions are easy to come by. For author’s this can be perilous since we naturally have inquisitive minds always looking for that next “something” to spark our muse and therefore our next story. It’s a slippery slope though, and one you will need to train yourself to avoid.

Sounds good, and simple enough, but how do we do it?

It’s definitely not simple, but there are a number of things you can do to help with the squirrel-on-red-bull syndrome. Below are some suggestions, by no means are they hard and fast rules, use them or parts as they work for you. Or merely use them as a launching point to figure out what would be best for the individual you are.

Create a schedule, and stick to it. This can be tough on occasion because we all know that real life likes to throw us a curve ball here and there to keep us on our toes. But making a schedule can actually have an added bonus, showing you where you might be a little lax. For example if you have allotted X number of hours a week to writing, but find that during the work week that time ends up being shaved due to one thing or another, adjust your schedule. This is particularly important if you are not a single individual living by themselves where you have additional flexibility to your schedule. If you are married, have kids, etc. you have to take into account their schedules, and all the extracurricular items that could throw a wrench into your well laid plans. Your first draft of your schedule will likely be much like a first draft of your newest WIP. It has holes that need to be filled, things to be rearranged for better flow, and tweaks made to make it efficient. Don’t give up, just be ready to adjust with life.

Get off social media. This is a biggie. Social media is a huge time suck that, while you might be able to now converse with a giraffe in their native tongue, it isn’t getting that book Social Media Web Signswritten now is it? Yes, as an author you do need social media to get out word about your latest release, stay in touch with readers, and also chat with other authors, along with making contact with folks who may be in a field/specialty you need some advice on for realism in your story. But keep on task, don’t allow yourself to be sucked into the vortex that is memes, cat vids, and latest so-called shocking and breaking news from sketchy sites that are “reporting” on things you want to happen but realistically know likely are not.

Lay down the law at home. This is a toughie, unless of course you’re single and live on your own dancing to your own piper. But it needs to be done. You support your family every way that you can, so they in turn should be supporting your career as an author. If this means they leave you be for an hour each night to do your writing, then it has to happen. Yes, there will be exceptions to this, but you also need to remain firm in your resolve that you want to progress in your career and that means occasionally locking yourself away for some writing time. There is also the other side of this coin, the family that finds your “career” as an author amusing, and assume it’s a passing faze. Yup, there are folks out there that truly think it’s “cute” when you proclaim yourself to be an author, usually at the point where you say the words “romance” or “erotic” or both. These folks don’t get it, may never, but it doesn’t mean you let them bulldoze you. Stay firm, do what needs to be done, and make the time to write just as important as little Timmy’s soccer game, or little Donny’s recital.

Make a plan for your writing time. Now that you have that hour block each and every night, you need to know what you are doing with it. Some days you won’t be in the mood to write, other’s may see your muse off doing whatever muses do when they aren’t screaming ideas at us at full volume with a brass band keeping beat. Doesn’t mean you Business plan for 2017can’t be furthering your career. Some nights it may mean doing upkeep on your much neglected website, others you might need to interact with readers, and then there will be times where you look at your current work and figure out if you’ve missed something that might be throwing your muse off and thus stumping you. There’s always tomorrow to get that wench back in line, and working hard to further your story.

Keep notes. While pantsers, and plotters, and everything in between have their own opinions on this I do recommend keeping at least some basic notes. Things like character appearance, important locations in your story, and anything that might be vital to the next book if you’re writing a series. It’s much easier to take a look through some scribbling’s than it is to search back through your last story to find out what color your second least important character’s eyes were. Something you may not have even mentioned, and would have put into your notes thus allowing you to develop him/her however you see fit in the next book in the series. Another plus to notes is where you’ve left off. If you’re the type of author who has two, three, or twenty WIP’s going on at once leaving yourself a quick note as to where you stopped in the story will assist you when you come back to it. A quick glance at the notes, a read through of the last paragraph’s and you should be able to transition back into whatever world you’re working on. Something helpful if you have stories in different genres, and times.

There you have it, a few things that might help you find a better way for you to keep on writing. Like I mentioned these are merely some tips, and maybe not for you, but maybe something above struck a chord and you found it useful. That’s our goal here on Naughty Quill’s, to not only help guide new authors through the confusion but also just maybe give a long time author another way to do something. We never stay the same, even in our writing, we are growing constantly which means that what may have worked in the past might not work where we are now in our careers. Don’t panic. Growth and change are good, ninety-nine percent of the time.

XO Moira Callahan

bare female body with red bow